The Blue Jays are among the teams interested in signing free agent infielder Brett Lawrie, reports Jim Bowden of ESPN. The Kansas City Royals, New York Mets, and Tampa Bay Rays are listed as other potential destinations. Lawrie, 27, was released by the White Sox last week.
As Devon Travis continues to deal with a knee injury, Lawrie could make sense as a short term backup option at second base. Although he did not play third base last season, he offers the positional flexibility to shift over to the hot corner when needed. He’s spent his entire career as an infielder, but his speed could make him a super-utility player and allow him to shift to a corner outfield position when needed.
Lawrie owns a .261/.315/.419 slash line for his career, which translates into league average offensive production. However, his strikeout rate sky-rocketed to 28.4% last year, up from his career mark of 20.1%, and this is a clear cause for concern. On the bright side, he’s hit 10 or more home runs in each of the past five seasons, and continues to be an above average base runner.
Once a strong defender, Lawrie graded out poorly at second base in terms of both UZR and DRS in each of the last two seasons. When Devon Travis is healthy, Lawrie could factor into the left field equation and provide an offensive upgrade to Ezequiel Carrera, but it is worth noting that he’s spent his entire career as an infielder. Ultimately, the presence of Josh Donaldsonand Devon Travis makes this an unlikely match, and Lawrie figures to make more sense for a team such as the Rays.